Presteigne, Herefordshire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"PRESTEIGNE, (or Llan-andras Of The Welsh) a parish, post and market town, and parliamentary borough, the parish being partly situated in the hundred and county of Radnor, and partly in the hundred of Wigmore, county Hereford. It is the county town of the county of Radnor, 6 miles E. by N. of Radnor, and 151 N.W. of London. The parish, which is of large extent, containing 7,780 acres, includes, besides the town of Presteign, the chapelry of Discoed, and the townships of Combe, Willey, and four others. It is situated in a valley on the Lug, a river celebrated for trout and grayling, and which here separates the counties of Radnor and Hereford.

The town of Presteign is small, and a borough by prescription, contributing, under the Reform Act, to New Radnor in returning one member to parliament. It first rose into importance under the patronage of Martin, Bishop of St. David's, who procured for it the grant of a market and many privileges about the close of the 13th century, and as New Radnor subsequently declined Presteign became the capital of the county. During the civil war of the 17th century Charles I. stayed with the Taylors at Lower Heath, near the King's Turning, when flying from Cromwell.

It contains a shire hall, situated in Broad-street, and built in 1829, the county gaol, built in 1820, a townhall, commercial bank, a good hotel, and a bridge of three arches. The population of the parliamentary borough in 1851 was 1,617, inhabiting 345 houses, which had increased in 1861 to 1743 persons, and 378 houses. To the W. of the town is a public promenade, called the Warden, occupying an eminence formerly the site of the castle of Presteign, but presented to the inhabitants by Lord Oxford, and now laid out in walks.

In the neighbourhood are many seats, the principal of which are Boultibrooke, on the Knighton road, belonging to Sir H. Brydges, Bart., Evenjobb, the residence of Mrs. Harley, and between Presteign and Radnor, Knill Court, the seat of Sir J. Walsh, in the grounds of which is the ivy-grown church of Knill, where Sir Samuel Romilly lies buried. The assizes and quarter sessions are held in Presteign, and the county courts here and at New Radnor alternately. It is also the headquarters of the county militia, the seat of a Poor-law Union, comprising 4 parishes in Radnorshire and 5 in Herefordshire, and the head of a superintendent registry district. Races take place occasionally in the vicinity of the town, on a flat course of seven-eighths of a mile.

The living is a rectory* with the curacy of Discoed annexed, in the diocese of Hereford, value £1,380. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is an ancient structure with a square embattled tower, and bearing an inscription over the great chancel window on the exterior, "M.P.L., 1244". It contains a stained-glass window, a brass, and some monuments and tablets to the families of Owen, Price, Davies, and Parsons, also a piece of tapestry, in good preservation, representing Christ's entry into Jerusalem, said to have been worked by some ladies of the name of Taylor, then residing at Little Brampton, near Presteign. There are two places of worship for Protestant Dissenters, also a free school, founded by John Beddoes in the reign of Elizabeth, which has an endowment of £150 per annum.

The principal antiquities are Offa's Dyke, which runs close by, crossing the wooded hills of Herrock and Knill Garraway, and about 3 miles to the S.E. of the town is Wapley encampment, a Roman fortification occupying a towering eminence 1,100 feet above the level of the sea. Between Knill and Presteign is the rock of Nash Scar, formed of the Woolhope limestone, but subsequently fused into one sub-crystalline mass of igneous rock. Market day is on Saturday. Fairs are hold on the Saturday before 13th February, on 9th May, 20th June, 13th and 14th October, and 11th December."

"COMBE, a township in the parish of Presteigne, in the hundred of Wigmore, in the county of Hereford, 2 miles E. of Presteigne."

"LITTLE BRAMPTON, a township in the parish of Presteigne, hundred of Wigmore, in the county of Hereford, 2 miles to the S. of Presteign. It lies on the border of Radnorshire, and is united to the township of Rodd."

"NASH, a hamlet in the parish of Presteigne, hundred of Wigmore, county Hereford, 1½ mile S. of Presteigne. In conjunction with Rodd and Little Brampton it forms a township"

"RODD, a hamlet in the parish of Presteigne, hundred of Wigmore, county Hereford, 2 miles S.E. of Presteign. It is in conjunction with Little Brampton and Nash to form a township."

"STAPLETON, a township in the parish of Presteigne, hundred of Wigmore, county Hereford, 1 mile E. of Presteigne. It is joined to Frog-street."

"WILLEY, a township in the parish of Presteigne, county Hereford, 3 miles N.E. of Presteigne."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]